Calabrese Recipes

Calabrese Cuisine

Food and History

The history and geography of Calabria, have greatly influenced the cuisine of the region, characterized by
simplicity and poverty, but that overtime time has always kept strong and unique flavors and aromas, today enhanced by a recovery of food traditions.

Calabrian food is characterized by foods that can be preserved and enjoyed, quality vegetables, and traditional farming that uses all parts of the animal.

Each of the many cultures and regions passing through Calabria have left their mark on the region’s cuisine.

The Phoenicians and Greeks taught Calabrians how to preserve their food and make it available throughout the year, especially during the cold season. Arabian travelers brought eggplant and holed pasta, contributing to Calabria’s famous maccaruni with purpette (meatballs) or iaccatieddri (fried zucchini spiced with mint). The Romans left their mark with their love of mushrooms – food fit for an emperor.

Though Calabria’s people are traditionally farmers living simple lives, their food has a rich, robust taste. The region’s high-quality vegetables and farmed meats were complemented by hot spices. The world-famous Calabrian peperoncino (hot pepper) adds a delightful spice to any meal. Too spicy for your taste? Cool your tongue with a glass of vino Calabrese – Calabria’s famous wine.

Though modern Calabrian wines are not as famous as those from other regions, Calabria was anciently referred to as Enotria, the land of wine. (May we suggest the Ciro classico, a classic red wine served to the winners of the ancient Olympics?)

From Italy to the United States

In 1876, Italy suffered twin calamities: an economic depression and an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that famously destroyed ancient Pompeii. Mount Vesuvius would erupt again in 1906, followed shortly after by an eruption of Mount Etna. Calabria’s capital city of Reggio was totally demolished by a volcano-related earthquake in the Quake of 1908.

Though the geological turmoil was hard enough to endure, the economic depression made matters worse. Not only did the inhabitants have to contend with famine, hunger, and high taxes, disease also became rampant, with malaria being the most common.

These issues, among others, led millions of Italians to emigrate from their homelands seeking new and better lives for themselves and their families.

When these immigrants arrived in their new homes, they brought their simple yet delicious cooking styles with them. Poverty had led the Calabrians to explore cuisine that embraced simple ingredients without wasting anything. This heritage is still present in traditional regional Calabrian cooking.

Today, Calabria is populated with over 2 million inhabitants, though experts estimate that number would be closer to 5 million without the mass exodus in the early 20th century.

Calabrese Cuisine

Food and History

The history and geography of Calabria, have greatly influenced the cuisine of the region, characterized by
simplicity and poverty, but that overtime time has always kept strong and unique flavors and aromas, today enhanced by a recovery of food traditions.

Calabrian food is characterized by foods that can be preserved and enjoyed, quality vegetables, and traditional farming that uses all parts of the animal.

Each of the many cultures and regions passing through Calabria have left their mark on the region’s cuisine.

The Phoenicians and Greeks taught Calabrians how to preserve their food and make it available throughout the year, especially during the cold season. Arabian travelers brought eggplant and holed pasta, contributing to Calabria’s famous maccaruni with purpette (meatballs) or iaccatieddri (fried zucchini spiced with mint). The Romans left their mark with their love of mushrooms – food fit for an emperor.

Though Calabria’s people are traditionally farmers living simple lives, their food has a rich, robust taste. The region’s high-quality vegetables and farmed meats were complemented by hot spices. The world-famous Calabrian peperoncino (hot pepper) adds a delightful spice to any meal. Too spicy for your taste? Cool your tongue with a glass of vino Calabrese – Calabria’s famous wine.

Though modern Calabrian wines are not as famous as those from other regions, Calabria was anciently referred to as Enotria, the land of wine. (May we suggest the Ciro classico, a classic red wine served to the winners of the ancient Olympics?)

From Italy to the United States

In 1876, Italy suffered twin calamities: an economic depression and an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that famously destroyed ancient Pompeii. Mount Vesuvius would erupt again in 1906, followed shortly after by an eruption of Mount Etna. Calabria’s capital city of Reggio was totally demolished by a volcano-related earthquake in the Quake of 1908.

Though the geological turmoil was hard enough to endure, the economic depression made matters worse. Not only did the inhabitants have to contend with famine, hunger, and high taxes, disease also became rampant, with malaria being the most common.

These issues, among others, led millions of Italians to emigrate from their homelands seeking new and better lives for themselves and their families.

When these immigrants arrived in their new homes, they brought their simple yet delicious cooking styles with them. Poverty had led the Calabrians to explore cuisine that embraced simple ingredients without wasting anything. This heritage is still present in traditional regional Calabrian cooking.

Today, Calabria is populated with over 2 million inhabitants, though experts estimate that number would be closer to 5 million without the mass exodus in the early 20th century.

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